In The Park In the Dark

Kidd Spring Park

The remnants of the dense forestry are located in here, as paths lead from the woods to the more entertaining features of the park. A jungle gym, complete with a small clubhouse and slides make up a play area designated for children, as do a few sandboxes. A community rec center can also be found in the park.
Separating the trees from the busier points of the park is small lake. During the summer months, a life guard can be found on duty so swimming is allowed, and there is also a small dock from which paddle boats and kayaks are available for rent.

Jogging at night. Police safety bulletins always list that as a terrible idea. Late-night joggers are always the ones to fall victim to the killer in the first five minutes of Law and Order. But that doesn't stop Ben. Oh, no. He's outfitted in a windbreaker and matching shorts, and he's pretty sweaty along the hairline, suggesting either that he's pretty out of shape or that he started this run quite a while ago. Still, he's keeping a pretty steady pace.

There on a branch hanging directly across the jogging path is tall long-legged boyman with those limbs neatly tucked out of sight. Eyes mere pools of darkness in the dim shadows of the tree's canopy, Joao watches Ben's progress, waiting, waiting, waiting until the very last second before releasing a pine cone. A heavily feigned, "Oops," is dropped in its wake, while the grin is cloaked in the depth of those shadows.

Despite her apparent age - an age that reflects that she's past the days of slides and sandboxes - Olivia has claimed a swing near the jogging path. Legs pump in the air again and again, propelling her slender frame into the air and back down again. There's a grin on her face that can be seen in the dim moonlight, curls flying every which way in the breeze.

The pine cone really seems to startle Ben. He was in the zone. Not no more, he ain't. "Agh!" he yells in surprise, startling back, stumbling, but finally regaining control of his movements. He peers up into the tree. Stupid squirrels! But then he narrows his eyes and cranes his neck. "Hey!" That's not a squirrel!

Are you sure about that? Joao swings down and drops right in front of Ben. "Sorry, man, I was mining nuts and it slipped." A total lie and this might be obvious by the way the now visible grin is displayed across sharp caramel features. Another pine cone is in his hand and from it he ferrets out a nut and offers it out to Ben, "They're good." As he was sitting up there the lad was watching the woman swing and now he brings the older man's attention her way, "Just like her… tasty." There is no sign of menace in his tone.

Olivia glances up, her swinging reverie startled into pieces at the sound of the jogging man's shouts. With a final, strong pump of her legs, she waits until the swing is at its pinnacle before jumping down and walking over to check on the little commotion. "Everything alright over here?"

Ben looks a little skeptical, taking another step back from Joaquim. "I don't want any trouble," he says. He doesn't quite sound like he's from around here, and he looks a little worried he might be mugged. He eyes the nut but shakes his head. "Uh…no thanks. I like my food cooked." He glances at the girl on the swing. "Yeah, I guess…" He doesn't seem to be paying much attention. He's probably still suspicious of the guy who pelted him with a pine cone. He jogs a little in place. He just lifts his eyebrows at Olivia. It's kind of awkward.

Next to the well muscled jogger Joao looks like a tall stick that hasn't yet fully matured into manhood, and obviously that goes for mental maturity as well. Sensing Ben's unease, both hands are lifted in a 'safe' pose, showing that he is neither armed nor aggressive in intent. He's simply wearing a t-shirt that bags on his bony frame and old jeans that hang on hips in such a way half his ass is exposed - there'd be nowhere to hide a gun. "I'm just a mischievous night owl, " there's a pause made to make bizarre owl sounds, "I've no need for trouble either. You do realize though that you're in a park at night?" This question is spread out to include Olivia as well, backing it up with a broad smile shared with both.

Olivia nods her curly head at Joao's question, a faint grin on her lips. "Yes, I'm aware. I'm also aware that most of the shady dealings happen over there," her chin is jerked in the direction of the clubhouses and slides a bit away, which do indeed look like the sort of place such things would be gone about, "And besides that, the park is relatively safe, even at night." These are words from a woman who doesn't take risks easily.

Owl sounds don't serve to convince Ben that Joaquim is not crazy, but the unthreatening body language is helping. "Yeah, it's a park at night," he agrees, nodding. "My gym was closed." He looks at his watch, then bobs his head. Yep, definitely closed. As for why one shouldn't jog in the park at night, he seems to be clueless.

Their responses only serve to sharpen Joao's smile into a grin, and yes, he's as nutty as those pine cones. "All is well in the land of good and evil then. I'm Joao," paves the way for further conversation should either be interested. The pine nut is popped into his mouth, followed by a look of apology that is shot toward Olivia, "Oh sorry, want one?" Another is dug out and presented.

"Oh," Ben says, staring at the guy for just a moment before he remembers to say, "Ben." Then he nods. "What's up?" Pleasantries accomplished! He smiles, something shy about the expression. His phone bleeps in his pocket. "One sec." He takes it out to look at it. Apparently he has a text, since he flips it open to look at the display.

Joao beams as the introduction is returned, "Howdy, Ben," but then the phone cuts into their face time and the smile dims somewhat, taking the light in his green eyes with it. "Nice leash," he comments and then fills the gap in conversation with the unwanted nut that is chewed while watching the jogger in targeted curiosity.

Ben seems a little irritated by the message, quickly thumb-typing a reply. THen he jams it back into his pocket and looks at the Pine Cone Mugger. "Huh?" he responds articulately. "What do you mean, 'leash?'"

The pine cone is tossed off as Ben comes out of his cell phone trance and Joao points a finger at the device. "Leash." But the man's irritation takes precedence over the jab, "Everything alright?" Unable to deal with free hands for long, a cigarette is pulled from the pack in the pocket of his t-shirt, lighter from the pants, and a second later the night is momentarily lit.

Ben looks at the phone curiously. "Is that local slang?" he asks, brows pulling together in confusion. He watches Joaquin light up the cigarette. "Oh," he says. "Yeah. My brother's always texting me about my other brother." He smiles. Brothers, right? "…Why do you call it a leash?"

As it turns out to not be something detrimental to their contact, Joao brightens again. "Local slang? No. You're not from around here?" The obvious is stated. A drag is taken and the smoke whisked out by the answer to Ben's question, words accompanied by descriptive gestures. A hand makes like it's connecting an invisible leash to a collar at his throat. "Leash, as in tethering you to folks, to work, to whatever." The pretend leash is repeatedly tugged and he mildly feigns choking from the pressure. All metaphor for his opinion on cell phones.

Ben shakes his head. "I'm from Virginia," he answers. Man of mystery, he ain't. He thinks over the leash metaphor, then smiles, bobbing his head. "Yeah, I get it," he agrees. "I guess it does, sort of… Not that I wouldn't have those obligations, anyway." He puts two fingers to his neck to measure his heart rate, then starts jogging in place again.

The jogging in place cracks Joao up, eyes shinning even in the faint light. "You're a health nut, aren't you?" That said, he pulls hard on the smoke, filling his lungs to their max, but the exhaust is let out in the opposite direction of Ben. "I'm just a nut that knows he'll die young, so why bother?" There is no sign of remorse behind the admittance, just casual good natured fact.

"I guess," Ben says. He looks at the cigarettes. "Yeah, you'll probably die young if you smoke, but not necessarily /that/ young. It's probably not as glamorous as you're imagining. Lung cancer's not a great way to go. He doesn't really sound like he's admonishing, and in fact shrugs to show that it's none of his business.

Joao lifts his hand and flips it back and forth as if examining the cigarette pinched there between yellowed fingers. A faint chuckle bubbles up, "This? Nah, this won't kill me." Then the hand drops and the gaze is thrown back to Ben, "Only the good die young, right? I believe 'good' is subjective and has many different nuances of meaning." A playful emphasis is made, "I am /damn/ good at some things, which will all likely get me killed one day." Again the tone is feckless and the perma-grin is present.

Ben tilts his head slightly to one side. "Sounds almost like you want to die," he observes quietly, and looks at Joaquim for a long moment, expression curiously blank. Then he suddenly shakes his head. "I gotta go!" he decides abruptly, and immediately sprints off. Awkward much?

To Ben's departing back Joao chuckles and flings out, "Not really! A fact is a fact, Jack! Be safe!" The cigarette is popped into his mouth, freeing both hands which are utilized when he makes a leap to the branch, grabbing a hold and pulling himself up to once again disappear into the shadowy depths.

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